Slate Roof Close Up

Is a Slate Roof Right For You?

The phrase “roof over your head” is evocative for a very good reason. You can have all the possessions you want, but if the roof isn’t there, none of that will matter. So naturally, the question of the best way to roof your house is one that people take their time considering, and choosing which roofing option is best for your home is an important decision.

To help you make the decision that’s right for you, we are going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of one of the most popular roofing materials – slate. As always, there are pros and cons to choosing a slate roof but by the end of this brief guide, you should be fully aware of everything a slate roof brings so that you can make an educated and informed decision.

What is Slate?

Slate is a metamorphic rock that is most commonly found in Spain, Brazil, China, and Australia, although in the UK, there are also slate quarries in North Wales, Cornwall, and Cumbria. It has proven extremely popular as a roofing material throughout history because of its natural water resistance, absorbing less than 0.4% of any water that lands upon it.

Although the majority of the market is still dominated by slate taken from mines, there is an increasingly large number of houses and construction firms switching to a lighter and equally durable alternative in the form of artificial slate. It can be more uniform, more eco-friendly, and overall easier to install than its natural counterpart, so it’s no wonder why more homebuilders see the benefit of this roofing option.

Advantages of Slate Roofing


It is difficult to deny that slate roofing has a style and artistry to it that few other roofing materials can match. The natural patterns that are present in slate rock, made possible thanks to the geological patterns and transformations during its formation, give slate a subtle but unique form and shape. Also, given how long slate has been a part of traditional construction all across Europe and further afield, it carries an undeniable air of history and gravitas.


When it comes to slate roofing, the base unit for measuring the lifespan is not years or even decades. A slate roof can very easily be expected to last between 100 to 200 years, sometimes at a minimum. This is why a centenary warranty on such products is not at all uncommon. This means that slate is exceptionally cheap in the long term and is highly eco-friendly since it will not need replacing or repairing on a regular basis.

Low Maintenance

Because of the exceptional durability of slate, it should not need regular repair when it has been installed expertly. Also, because of its high level of natural water resistance, slate is exceptionally resistant to the advancements of mould, fungus, and other unpleasant biological attackers.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing


Among the many different roofing options out there, slate is one of the heaviest available, often weighing between 8 to 15 lbs per square foot. Because of this, broader architectural allowances will need to be made for new buildings with slate roofing, whereas older buildings where a new slate roof is being fitted will need a thorough inspection.

Difficult to Replace

While slate is highly durable when it comes to the natural elements of wind, rain, and hail, it can be more fragile when humans are part of the equation. Since slate is manufactured in batches, colour matching is often difficult to achieve, although it is much easier with artificial slate.

Complex Installation

Installing a roof that could potentially last several centuries is not going to be a simple affair. Anyone claiming otherwise is most likely going to do a poor job of fitting the slate in place, which could result in long and difficult repair procedures. Slate roofing is a highly specialised and technical discipline, and you need to ensure that you have qualified experts like the team here at Chris Ball Roofing to guarantee a good job.

Whilst this overview has highlighted the major strengths and weaknesses of a slate roof, it’s always good to stay in the know about what’s available. At Chris Ball Roofing, we offer a range of different roofing material options from high performance felt through to clay tiles so that whatever your preference, you can find the right roof for your home.

Be sure to investigate as thoroughly as you can before making a decision on your roof and if in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today and we happily provide you with honest, bespoke advice for your project.

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